These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
International Development Research Centre
Local Governance and ICTs in Africa
"With governance high on the agenda in Africa, many governments are using information and communications technologies (ICTs) to develop ways in which they deliver services to citizens. E-governance has the potential to enable local governments to engage citizens in greater participation, leading to socioeconomic developments at local and national levels. But this potential remains largely unexploited and, until now, there has been a lack of evidence on information technology in local governance in Africa.
This book addresses that gap. It offers studies from nine African countries that explore how ICTs can transform service delivery, tax, financial management, land management, education, local economic development, citizen registration, and political inclusion." READ MORE
"Two years after the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the country is attempting to rebuild with the help of development proposals prepared by citizens. These efforts, known as roadmaps, or “cahiers de charges,” have been endorsed by elected officials across the country as a way to demonstrate that they are listening to citizens and have set specific goals for reconstruction and development efforts." READ MORE
Journalists in Africa: navigating 2012
"Journalism isn't a profession you get into if you want an easy ride. This has certainly proven true for journalists covering Africa in 2011, many of whom paid with their lives. Challenges in 2012 include covering ongoing conflict zones, election periods, and continuing the fight for access to information.
As another new year rolls around, it's back to the grindstone – for the employed among us anyway. But for some people returning to work the stakes are higher than others. There are the obvious jobs that involve occupational hazards: soldier, policeman, spy, to name just a few. You can add “journalist” to that list. Journalists in Africa (and throughout the world) increasingly risk censure, intimidation, jail time, and even being killed – simply for doing their jobs." READ MORE
Health Czech! Any surprising results from the Czech Integrity System assessment?
"Recently TI Czech Republic launched a National Integrity System (NIS) assessment providing a ‘health check’ of the key governance institutions in the country, with special emphasis on how well resourced they are, how they fare on integrity, accountability and transparency, and whether they perform their role in the anti-corruption effort. It is part of a Europe-wide project assessing the integrity systems of 26 European countries.
The study was anticipated with interest by many in the Czech anti-corruption community, from NGO activists to responsible civil servants, since there are not many studies on corruption and anti-corruption policy in the country. Of course, the main expectations focused on the ’health’ of individual pillars of Czech society, from institutions like the judiciary and the police to actors like the media and civil society." READ MORE
New York Times
Internet Access Is Not a Human Right
"FROM the streets of Tunis to Tahrir Square and beyond, protests around the world last year were built on the Internet and the many devices that interact with it. Though the demonstrations thrived because thousands of people turned out to participate, they could never have happened as they did without the ability that the Internet offers to communicate, organize and publicize everywhere, instantaneously.
It is no surprise, then, that the protests have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right. The issue is particularly acute in countries whose governments clamped down on Internet access in an attempt to quell the protesters. In June, citing the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, a report by the United Nations’ special rapporteur went so far as to declare that the Internet had “become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights.” Over the past few years, courts and parliaments in countries like France and Estonia have pronounced Internet access a human right." READ MORE